France-headquartered tuna giant Sapmer is being forced to sell its three Mauritian-flagged tuna vessels to an unnamed South American shipowner in order to "ensure the sustainability of the company and its jobs."

A significant drop in quotas, which are down 60 percent in the last three years, as well as "a multitude of new regulatory constraints" imposed on the company in Mauritius have been "weighing heavily" on the profitability of the vessels, said Sapmer.

The group said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with a potential buyer specializing in tuna fishing in South America.